Where are you going this weekend?

So it’s Halloween weekend – or any weekend in Kent, really – and you’re not sure where you want to go or what you want to do. Yeah, of course you can go hit up that house party down the street and play 3,941 rounds of beer pong with people you’ll probably never see again, or you can always go downtown to the same old standbys while all of your under-21 friends languish in their dorm rooms.

And of course, if you’re under 21, you’ll be doing the languishing in the dorm room most of the weekend, especially once you get busted at that one house party gone awry.

So what is a Kent State student to do?

You can always go to a concert, and you don’t need to drive to Cleveland, Columbus, or even Pittsburgh to do it.

You may not realize it, but there are plenty of live music venues right in this area, most within a half hour’s drive – and some within walking distance.

The Kent Stage, located in downtown Kent, from the Kent Stage Facebook page

The Kent Stage is the first and most obvious venue. You can seriously make it there in about fifteen minutes just by walking off campus. The Kent Stage mostly hosts folk music shows, and if that’s what you’re into, they actually bring in pretty big names. Yes, Bob Dylan has played there, and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary was also a recent performer. However, the Kent Stage doesn’t just have folk music. Comedians make stops at the stage, and a wide variety of genres can be found there. Rapper Twista was a headliner in March of this year, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll be able to find plenty going on just down the block.

If you want to venture a little farther off campus but want to stay in the Kent area, you can jump over to the Outpost, just down State Route 43. However, be warned: The Outpost is geared almost exclusively toward heavy metal music. If you don’t like metal, you probably won’t have a great time at the Outpost. Taproot will be performing at the Outpost on November 13, and a Halloween bash is being held this Friday, October 28. Again, this is all heavy metal music, but if you’re open to it or if you really love it, this is your place.

Staying in the same vein but a little farther away, you can also go to the Carriage House Concert + Nite Club (this will definitely require a car!). The Carriage House is located in Louisville, which is about 45 minutes away and almost a straight shot down State Route 43. The Carriage House also specializes in metal music, so if this isn’t your cup of tea, you might not want to make the 45 minute drive – unless, of course, you’re looking for something a little different. The Carriage House is similar to the Outpost, bringing in some big names while also hosting local bands and general bar nights. They’ll be having a Halloween show this Saturday night, October 29, and later in November, they’ll be having a night before Thanksgiving party as well.

If you don’t do the metal thing or you don’t want to drive 45 minutes away, then maybe you would fit in at Musica.

Outside of Musica in Akron, courtesy Sarah Cukelj

Musica is in Akron, and they have shows all of the time. It’s a 20 minute drive maybe, and you go right down 76 to get there. They host shows by both nationally known bands and local up-and-coming bands. Relient K, originally from Canton, has returned to the music club numerous times, and electro-screamers Breathe Carolina have been frequenting the spot throughout this year (as a matter-of-fact, they have another show there on November 16). Other upcoming shows include Family Force 5, The Meat Puppets, Built to Spill, and Framing Hanley (who made their name covering Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” in case you forgot) – and that’s just in the month of November. Musica is also incredibly good with pricing – almost every, if not every, show is under $20 – seeing a show with three or four bands shouldn’t kill your budget here.

Musica features a lot of pop, indie, punk, and some screamo. The newly opened Auricle, in Canton, is a similar hot spot. The Auricle only recently opened, and they’re already working on making a name for themselves. While the drive is about a half an hour, it’s completely worth it (also, being from Canton, I can tell you that this is not a painful drive at all and that Canton is a lovely place to visit). Lots of bands have been playing there, and upcoming shows include appearances by Ryan Humbert for a Halloween show and Lovedrug. The Auricle also hosts dance parties, some of which occur after concerts, but these are usually 21 and over. This is really a great place to see local bands that are on the verge, especially because the Auricle is almost always booked. If you’re willing to make the thirty-minute drive, you definitely won’t regret it once you’re there.

Plus, once you’re in Canton, you can always check out the Palace Theatre. While they don’t have many concerts, when they do, they’re almost always a big deal. The Palace has hosted bands including Three Days Grace, and if you decide not to see a concert, you can always scope out their art house film offerings. It’s good to know it’s there, I promise.

Mike Posner performs at the MAC Center in September.

However, there are two other venues that people seem to just blow off. Never underestimate or forget about EJ Thomas Hall, at the University of Akron, or your very own Kent State MAC Center. EJ Thomas Hall hosts musicals throughout the year, but they, too, have concerts. Paul Simon will be making an appearance there, and soul singer Dwele will be performing in the hall in the spring. And honestly, there is no excuse not to go to a concert at the MAC Center at least once. I’m not saying you have to go see someone you absolutely hate or anything (I, for one, am not a country fan, and so I won’t be seeing Dierks Bentley November 3), but if it’s someone you don’t mind or at least aren’t repulsed by, you should scope it out. I mean, it’s right there, and the student ticket prices are always reasonable. $5 for Bruno Mars? Okay. Why not? There isn’t much else you can get for $5 right now, everyone. You may as well go to a concert.

And, of course, some music news you might’ve otherwise missed:

  • A coroner has finally ruled that Amy Winehouse did, in fact, die from alcohol poisoning. The report states that the late English songstress was fives times as drunk as the legal driving limit. Her death has officially been declared, and I’m not making this up, “death by misadventure.”
  • The Black Keys released their first single from upcoming album El Camino, and it is accompanied by a video with what is sure to be the next hot dance. I’m sure. “Lonely Boy” is even tighter, faster and slicker than the songs on Brothers, and Brothers was a Grammy-winning album – just saying. El Camino comes out December 6; I know what I want for my birthday.
  • Q Magazine, a British publication, will be releasing an album of covers for the 20th anniversary of U2’s Achtung Baby. This is an album I grew up with, and I’m so excited about this I could die a little. Artists who appear on the CD include Nine Inch Nails, the Killers, and a reunited Garbage (their first recording in years!), as well as Depeche Mode. A handful of the songs have already appeared on Stereogum and Pitchfork, and so far, I have no complaints. The actual issue was just released, and you can also order it off of Q’s website as well as U2’s.
  • In the same train of thought, Lady Gaga will be releasing an album of remixed songs from Born This Way on November 21. The fifteen-track release has some big names at the helms, too: artists involved include Foster the People, Two Door Cinema Club and the Horrors. The Wild Beasts remix of “You and I” is available if you click on the link, and if that is any indication of the overall quality of the remixes, you can definitely count me in.
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